Posted on April 3, 2017
When you think of the term “digital,” you automatically think “digital = social media.” You’re off to a great start but there is a little more to it. A few things I wanted to break down about the digital sphere is what does it really mean and what should you know about it?
It’s crazy to think that the apps we are so familiar with now: Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, will be completely different in 3, 5, and 10 years. Think about when we are older and see our kids on their iPhones, will we be able to comprehend what ever their newest obsession is on social media? I hope so. *GASP* As I think about not being able to keep up with social media someday.
In today’s day and age, brands cannot thrive if they don’t have a digital presence. It is one thing having a Twitter account on behalf of a brand but what is the strategy behind it? What is the voice/ tone of the brand? Is it playful? Serious? Goofy? A combination? Having a digital presence on behalf of a brand means being up to speed with day to day news stories, and engaging yourself into conversation when appropriate. If an alarming dairy study came out and had the possibility to negatively effect the dairy industry, brands like Horizon Valley and Darigold might make a statement via social media channels where they see fit. A cereal brand MAY be able to enter the conversation because milk + cereal are essential to one another (obvi), but it might be trying a bit too hard if a poultry or chip brand tried to enter the conversation. Milk is to cereal as chips is to guac. Chips to milk? Mission abort.
Digital takeaways that I think are important may be different than someone who doesn’t have a background in public relations. In fact, someone who has been in public relations for 10+ years might have a different outlook on all things digital and where it is going. But, as far as my millennial self goes, here are a few key takeaways.
And with that, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Take the realm of social media with a grain of salt. We as millennials can adapt to just about anything and if one thing is for certain, we can quickly adapt to digital change and transformation. Just last week, Facebook launched it’s rendition of Facebook Stories, which is similar to SnapChat and Instagram features. “How will we keep up with all of our stories?” is a question I think many of us have along with how will our phone batteries withstand all of the different networks. I am curious to hear people’s feedback at the very least. And in case you were wondering, Facebook creeping is no longer anonymous when it comes to FB Story.
If you have a passion for financial planning, colorful floors, or new and inventive cocktails, there is most likely someone out there who has worked with a brand who’s core values match that of the brands. Amazon just had a soft launch of an influencer program into beta where the new program will offer influencers commission on products sold, but is not open to the public. So in short, if you consider yourself an influencer, there is most likely a brand that fits your image and what you like to write about. And in case you were wondering, Amazon influencers must submit an application to be included.
It is one thing to read a blog post about someone’s travel experience. But what was the actual story of it? Brands are continuing to work with the customer and not just for the customer, which is well stated in HBR. The customer continues to be kept top of mind and at the forefront of conversations. What are the consumer’s tastes changing to and how can brands quickly adapt? Digital strategy is essential to story telling and paralleling with the mind sets of consumers.
You would not believe the tools companies use on the back end to measure success, especially for digital campaigns. Facebook ads are measured in so many ways (think engagement, click throughs, point of sale). It is every brand’s dream to be on the front page of the New York Times, and can you guess why? It has the ability to reach so many people. As of 2016, the NY Times has 72.9MM unique monthly viewers. Where do you even begin to measure the success of this kind of placement? Different measuring tools help answer different questions: How many people viewed the article, how many shared it, commented on it, how was SEO involved. One tool I recently learned about can track who viewed a certain page, clicked on the “donate now” hyperlink on the page, and then actually donated! 50% incredible and 50% creepy. I think you get the point.
What do you think is the next turning point in the digital space? I am curious to hear from my millennial pals and digital experts as well! Hope this helped clear up any questions you might have had about all things social media/ digital!
Posted on March 6, 2017
More often than not I receive the question “So you’re in public relations. What do you do?” and part of what brought Al + I together is our different backgrounds in PR – she has her own biz and I work in a public relations agency (hello corporate America!). Let me start off by saying: PR is fun. I think across all PR agencies, it’s the mindset of “work hard, play hard” that gets you through the day and everyone’s combined hard work really pays off.
So again, what is it that I do? Anyone looking to get into PR but not sure what it entails? I broke down a few crucial parts to what makes up being a public relations professional along with a few tips I’ve learned so far in my career.
Ever wonder why your local FOX news covered the grand opening of the new grocery store down the street and interviewed by standers and C suite execs of the grocery store chain? Chances are they are working with a public relations agency with the goal of spreading the word about their grocery store on a local and national level. Now why is the grand opening of a new grocery store interesting you ask? That is where us PR wizards enter the scene. Our goal is to think not only creatively, but strategically. Does the Chief Marketing Officer of the grocery store brand have any local ties to the community? Does the company support a foundation that would entice more customers to shop there over it’s competitors? PR people take all of these angles into consideration when we are calling the producer of FOX news, ABC, NBC etc. because they want to know “Why is this story interesting?” and “Why does this story matter?” If we only have 30 seconds to speak with the producer: we better be ready to give a five star elevator pitch and make it the most exciting story to date.
Since the world is turning into a digital, always plugged in society, we are also finding the perfect online news outlets that both you and I read. If the grand opening of the grocery store was happening in Orange County (southern California), our target consumer probably reads The Orange County Register online and in print. It’s our job as experts to find the editor who is writing about similar events, get in contact with them, and again explain to them why this story is important and why it’s something they should share with their audience.
You might be wondering: do we pay the OC register to post about the grocery store grand opening? The answer is no. PR is free publicity. (*Note this is different than an advertisement.) The grocery store brand is paying my agency to hustle and get the word out about the grand opening. This means having write ups in well known outlets that have millions of monthly readers. If I had a friend post on her Facebook about the event, it would only reach the number of friends she has on FB. We want to earn the most impressions for this story so we go for the heavy hitters that make the most sense. In other words I am not going to pitch the San Francisco Examiner for an event happening in Orange County– it doesn’t make sense and unfortunately no one really cares in SF.
I am in such a cool position at my job. I am the hybrid child at work being half consumer and half digital focused. In the PR landscape of things, digital experience is quickly evolving into something everyone needs to be an expert in. That being said, I work on different influencer programs with my consumer clients. I help find the right bloggers with the right audience that is the best fit for the brand. I help draft content briefs so our bloggers feel well equipped with relevant information about the brand when they go to write and really am the day to day liaison between our blogger friends and the brand to make sure they feel good about their post and are producing engaging, relevant content.
Happy client + happy blogger + happy team = winning.
One of my clients for example, sells baking products. Through lots of research, I help find the perfect food blogger that 1) fits well with the brand and likes to bake 2) has strong photography skills 3) her audience is engaged with her content on both her blog and social channels and 4) is affordable for our brand to sponsor. Once all of these boxes are checked, I work with the blogger on selecting a recipe that most likely centers around a holiday (for example, cinnamon rolls for a Christmas brunch) and will resonate best with their audience. I am also the one reviewing their content to make sure it fits the brand’s voice, and when the post goes live, we later report on her metrics! (Views, engagements, likes, shares etc.)
It has been really neat so far on my blogging journey to incorporate what I am learning at my PR job into my blog posts on Al + Lex and working with brands that best fit into my lifestyle. Of course I want to share information about products that I use in my daily routine, whether it be relating to fashion, fitness, beauty, travel or PR.
For example, one product I came across is Felix Gray. Think of Felix Gray as the go to eye wear for people who work (and stare) at a computer all day. I am quickly raising my hand volunteering as tribute as I am always staring at a screen whether it be at work or for blogging. I wear my “Nash” style Felix Grays at work and when I am elsewhere typing up my blog posts. Before I started wearing my FG’s, I would ask myself “am i slowly going blind?” due to blurry vision throughout the day even when I was wearing my contacts! My Felix Gray eye wear has helped me alleviate eye strain by eliminating glares and filtering blue light.
FG sources their acetate (fiber used to make textiles) from Varese, Italy – a region with a 100+ year reputation for producing the world’s nicest acetates (think along the lines of Oliver Peoples). They did a ton of research and started working with a firm to create the perfect lens, which does not use a coating to deflect blue light like other brands might, but filters the high-energy light by using a synthesized pigment naturally produced by the human body and adds it directly into the lens material. What I also love about this brand is that it is so affordable. The lens itself would typically cost $300+ from an eye doctor, and we all know that frames can be so expensive these days! Felix Gray is its own efficient tech company and with that, keeps the prices low and affordable while selling a quality product.
My favorite part about PR is we get to brainstorm and think of creative ideas for brands in hopes to tell a story, make an impact, and engage with consumers. We want our brands to resonate in the minds of consumers and create a campaign that lasts instead of being a one and done moment. The mind of a PR person is always churning with thoughts: How can we get through the clutter for our client? What is the next big thing in social media? How can we make a statement? What does the brand need the most? What can we do that no one else is doing?
When we are planning for the next year for our clients or have a new business pitch we are going after, we have numerous brainstorms to hear the ideas of our fellow coworkers. Ten heads is better than one and I personally love hearing everyone’s ideas because everyone comes from a different background, bringing fresh ideas to the room.
In short, I love my job and the work I get to be involved in. If you are looking to get into PR, I recommend joining your local Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) chapter, grab coffee with someone who works in an agency who’s clients intrigue you, and most importantly be open to anything when it comes to PR. You will learn so much that goes beyond a job description that will help you both in the workspace and in your everyday life.
Smiling big as I wrap up this post because I love what I get to do and I hope with whatever you do as a career or hobby, you love it too.
Complimentary product was included in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photography by Brittany Benson.
Posted on May 26, 2015
In a two part guest series, Ashley Altstadt let’s you in on her tips and recommendations for going after what you want, and ultimately landing a coveted spot in the fashion industry. This is part II.
Do as much as you can on the side.
When I’m not at my current job, I’m writing for online fashion magazines. Start a blog, take photos and show off your work anyway that you can. Companies want to see someone that takes the time to do what they love. Having a blog will also show off your personality and point of view to future employers.
Dress the part.
When you’re trying to land your dream job, you want to be taken seriously. I always go for a tailored pant or a midi dress for an interview. Employers want to see that you can put yourself together, but you also have your own personal style. Don’t wear too much jewelry, keep it light on the make-up, and always wear heels that you feel confident in.
Before every interview I always research the company inside and out. You want to impress these future employers by knowing the company background and philosophies. Doing your homework shows that you’re serious about the job.
Be smart on social media.
Make sure that you’re putting out a positive image of yourself on every social media platform. Employers will look there first to see what you’re like and who you are. I always stick to classy and respectable posts because you never know who is looking. Social media has become the largest representations of ourselves whether we like it or not.
I’ve learned that being nice to people will get you further in life than anything else. Always be pleasant, be nice to everyone you meet and SMILE! Also, HAVE FUN! Fashion is supposed to be creative, artistic and exciting.